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Disasters Hitting Rwanda Hard, Cabinet Deeply Concerned

Environment

Disasters Hitting Rwanda Hard, Cabinet Deeply Concerned

Following an extensive wave of damage caused by heavy rains across the country, government has resolved to find long term solutions to such disasters.

In a cabinet meeting convened on Wednesday and chaired by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro, government discussed the issue of disasters that have severely affected Rwandans.

According to the ministry of disaster, more than 40 people have succumbed to heavy down pour which destroyed houses that later collapsed on the victims. Some other victims are washed away by filled seasonal rivers.

Meanwhile, 16 people reportedly died when lightning struck a church in March and more than 160 others were injured across the country.

Banks of a major River Nyabarongo burst and spilled over flooding several metres away and destroyed poroperty,crops and various infrastructure.

The Wednesday Cabinet Meeting expressed concern and sympathy to all Rwandans, especially families that have lost members and those impacted by the effects of the recent disasters caused by heavy rains.

A bridge in Nyagatare district damaged by Heavy rains early April. Several Public infrastructure have been severely damaged by heavy rains

The Heavy rains experienced in Rwanda this season , weather experts say last occurred in the 1980’s and 70’s.

Throughout this rainy season which is expected to conclude towards mid-May, experts say it has been different from previous seasons.

The rains last longer hours and I some cases take on an entire day leading to soaking of soils, erosion and eventual landslides.

Jeanne d’Arc Debonheur, Minister for disaster management and refugees on April 25th urged residents in disaster prone areas to dig holes retaining rain water around their houses in order to prevent losses and damages casued by heavy rains and mudslides.

More deaths have since been reported in Rulindo district which is composed of steep hills and Gatsibo districts.

The Cabinet Meeting resolved to strengthen efforts to mitigate natural disasters in the long term with special emphasis on environmental protection, infrastructure development and maintenance, organized settlement as well as improved agriculture practices.

Trucks begin using the road connecting Karongi District to Muhanga District. A massive landslide had sealed off the road section on Saturday April 28th. Caterpillars had to be brought in to remove large chunks of rocks and soil in the middle of the road

Counting the Cost of Disasters in Rwanda

In 2015, Rwanda released a Risk Atlas with details several forms of disasters the country experiences.

According to details in this document, Rwanda suffers five major hazards including; drought, landslides, floods, earthquake and windstorms.

If all these forms of disasters hit Rwanda concurrently, the country would incur a combined loss of about $132 million (more thanRwf1billion).

Although farmers now seem to be counting losses from their beans destroyed by excessive water due to rains, they as well suffer long dry season which also causes massive damage to crops.

According to an expert assessment in the Risk Atlas, the drought has the potential of drying down crops both in season A and B leading to loses estimated at Rwf8.8 billion.

However, irrigation efforts have been paying off in some zones including Nyagatare district but due to the country’s steep hills, irrigation hasn’t been well embraced.

The ministry of agriculture to established a Rwf5billion irrigation facility to counter the drought in the area.

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